Whether you're head over heels in love or at the "eat Cheez-Its in bed" stage of single life, Google has a delightful present for you this Valentine's Day. It's called "Pangolin Love" and if you haven't already figured out how to play the Valentine's Day Google Doodle game, you need to start. If only it were available all year round.
The game can be played on a desktop or on your phone, so there's absolutely no excuse not to give it a whirl — your boss won't mind. They're probably playing, too. The game centers around two little pangolins, a scaly little mammal that looks totally creepy and prehistoric in real life.
But in the game, they're totally cute and way in love with each other. The one doesn't know what to get the other for Valentine's day, so it's up to you to help him gather cocoa beans in Ghana for a chocolate cake in level one, learn a love song in India, a dance in China, and flowers in the Philippines. (The countries are all places where the pangolin can be found creeping around.)
It's so simple that it's actually kind of hard. You use your arrow keys to love the little guy, who rolls up into a Sonic the Hedgehog-style ball and the space key to jump. As you roll, just like in Sonic, you collect the beans, music notes, and flowers.
It's not totally easy, since you're rolling at high speeds and can sometimes miss entire rows of goodies. Or is that just me? Don't judge. But, the good news is that you can use the arrow key to back track (the flower level is the best for this) and if you keep hitting the space bar, you can sort of "swim" if you fall into water and want to collect everything. Also, pro-tip, you can use the the turtle shells as trampolines to get some velocity. You can also swing on vines and ribbons (depending on the level) to throw yourself around. I've obviously spent way too much time today playing "Pangolin Love."
And that's it! So easy, and at the ned of every level, the little pangolin meets his love and they do the happiest little pangolin dance.
The good news is you can't really die or lose lives, though there is a three minute time limit and little pointy traps that push you back if you run into them. Which is sort of the whole point of the game. Yes, it's adorable and fun and a totally great use of of your time, but the game is also about promoting awareness about pangolins and their struggles. Because in the wild, they have more to worry about than collecting enough ribbons for a dance routine.
In real life, pangolins endangered and two species of them are nearing extinction. They're the most trafficked animal in the world — people want their scales and their meat, apparently, which is the freaking saddest thing you'll hear all day. Although you can't "die" and always bounce right back after hitting a trap in the game, the reality for pangolins is much worse.
So after you help the pangolin figure out what to do for bae on Valentine's Day, click the little heart icon on the screen to learn more about the pangolin and learn about the adoption kits the World Wildlife Foundation provides to help save the scaly little creatures.
Because if you're going to celebrate Valentine's Day alone, playing video games (don't judge) you can still feel good about helping some wildlife in the process.